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Small Business Meal Prep Company Perseveres In A Covid Climate; Offers Healthy Eating Options To Community

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COMMUNITY BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

By Zach Schrader

Tuesday, November 03, 2020 — PrepLIFE Meal Prep Grill’s co-founders Kevin Pascual and Keith Perez have worked hard and came a long way growing this business and giving back to their community over the past five years. When they first began operating they cooked all the meals out of Kevin’s father’s kitchen and delivered them to customers themselves. Five years later they were able to open prepLIFE’s first commercial restaurant location. With no prior business experience or schooling, they learned how to run a business on the job.

prepLIFE owners Kevin Pascual (L) and Keith Perez (R)

Kevin highlighted “perseverance, resilience, and sticking to the vision” as their keys to growing this business over the years. However, this process has not been without setbacks, and maybe none bigger than opening their doors right as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning.

A major part of prepLIFE’s strategy was the store being located in the same lot as a 24 Hour Fitness, and they had hoped gym goers would come grab a healthy meal after their workout. When the gym had closed due to the pandemic, a parking lot that was normally packed with the exact customer they had hoped to attract had become empty.

Though these were not the opening circumstances they had hoped for, they have focused on the positives and even have been able to make it work out in their favor in some ways. Kevin described this opening as a “long soft opening”, allowing them to figure everything out and get their team working together smoothly without it being too hectic. Keith added, “If we can be successful and thrive during a pandemic, when the economy fully comes back we will be more than okay.”

As natives to the Inland Empire, Kevin and Keith have been very active in giving back to the community through prepLIFE. Kevin attributed this to “How we were brought up… we were raised to always give back to the community and do our part.”

PrepLIFE has held an event on Thanksgiving every year since they’ve been in business called Thanks4Giving, where members of the community come to pick up free meals and distribute them out to those in need. In light of the pandemic, this year’s Thanks4Giving will be a drive through but everything else will be the same as previous years. PrepLIFE’s motto, “eat with purpose” highlights their commitment to give back to the community by providing healthy meals with the same convenience and affordable price as a typical fast food place. Keith said “I think this is something the community needs, and the entire country needs more of.”

Interview conducted by Zach Schrader, Contributing Reporter for the Inland Empire Business Journal.

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Jackson Family Human Services to Host First Annual Care Fair

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The fair will provide comfort and security to children affected by trauma

Jackson Family Human Services will be hosting its first annual Care Fair on December 17, 2022. The fair will go from 10 am-2 pm at the Redlands Community Center Gymnasium, which located at 111 W Lugonia Ave, Redlands, CA. This event is free and open to the public and will feature hot chocolate, cookies, photos with Santa, and gifts for children. The care fair will help bring comfort and security to children going through or who have experienced trauma.

The Care Fair will benefit the Resiliency Institute for Childhood Adversity (RICA) clinic of Loma Linda. The RICA Clinic was designed to address community needs for child abuse. The clinic is a collaboration of many local agencies working together to provide forensic interviews and evidentiary medical examinations to evaluate child abuse allegations. This coordinated approach doesn’t require an abused child to recount their experiences to several agencies in numerous interviews. The RICA Clinic is the first stop for these young children who are often in shock. Blankets, plush toys, clothing, and backpacks are grounding and provide a sense of security and comfort. Any donations of these items made to Jackson Family Human Services will go towards The RICA Clinic to help continue their efforts in supporting these young children.

Donations can be made at the following dropoff locations:

  • Jackson Family Human Services Victorville – 15490 Civic Drive Victorville, CA 92392, Suite 206
  • Jackson Family Human Services Apple Valley – 18522 Outer Hwy 18 N Apple Valley, CA 92307, Suite 208
  • Behavior Genius – 1500 S Haven Ave Ste 250, Ontario, CA 91761
  • Cafe Organix – 420 E Hospitality Ln Suite A10, San Bernardino, CA 92408
  • Alliance Human Services – 818 N Mountain Ave Suite 206, Upland, CA 91786

“We are proud to help fulfill a big wish list item for the team at the Resiliency Institute of Childhood Adversity (RICA) at Loma Linda Hospital – thousands of fleece blankets and plush toys! It seems like a simple thing, but this is what brings comfort to children who come to RICA through the forensic investigation process as a result of traumatic experiences that may include child abuse, witnessing acts of violence, maltreatment, or other forms of trauma,” said Harry Jackson, CEO of Jackson Family Human Services. 

He added, “In addition to RICA, the CareFair will also provide toys, school supplies, clothing, and new gift items to several partner organizations in the greater San Bernardino community.”

For more information, visit carefair2022.com

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Tickets on sale now for Southern California’s #1 Rated Oktoberfest

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Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest Welcomes the Return of a Band from Germany

Tickets to the 52nd Annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest are now on sale. Organizers of Southern California’s #1 Oktoberfest are ready to deliver another authentic Bavarian-style celebration for nine consecutive weekends from September 10 to November 5. Ticket options range from general admission, preferred seating options, Sunday Family-Fun Packages, and Über Bürgermeister Party Packs. Other big news for Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest is Frankenrebellen Express, a band direct from Bavaria, will perform two weekends in October. 

“This marks the first time since 2019 that we were actually able to get a band direct from Germany to travel to the United States,” said Monica Marini, director of Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest. “The Frankenrebellen Express will definitely bring the spirit of Munich’s Oktoberfest right here in Big Bear Lake.” 

Frankenrebellen Express derives from the Franconia region of Bavaria. They’re slated to perform in Big Bear October 1-2 and the following weekend, October 7-9. They sing with thick German accents and deliver exuberant party music that’s driven by a hearty, rhythmic oompah-pah sound. The other seven weekends are booked with Southern California’s top German-style bands, which includes Die Sauerkrauts, Hazelnuss Das Music, Da Stuben Buden, and Ladyhosen featuring international yodeling sensation Kathrin Jakob. These bands perform on the main stage inside the Big Bear Lake Convention Center. Each band is renowned to stir up good times with a mix of popular cover songs such as “Sweet Caroline,” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” original tunes, and of course traditional Bavarian sing-alongs like “Ein-Prosit,” “Hands to Heaven,” and “Das Esellied” that are certain to bring plenty of smiles and cheers. A second stage located outside, in the High-Altitude Beer Garden, features a variety of regional bands that perform rock ‘n’ roll and country music. For the full entertainment lineup visit BigBearEvents.com.   

“We have two stages of continuous live entertainment, which provides a lively atmosphere throughout the day,” added Marini. “We give our guests plenty of activities to partake in too, from ‘Ein Prosit’ toasts, kids’ games, a mechanical bull, log-sawing contests and various interactive group dances that everyone seems to enjoy such as the ‘Fliegerlied’ and ‘Chicken Dance.’”

Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest represents Southern California’s most authentic Oktoberfest, which is well-known as the closest thing to the original celebration in Munich, Germany. Just like the original, Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest starts its celebration in September and goes into October (due to popular demand, it now stretches into November). What really makes this Oktoberfest more special than others is Big Bear Lake is situated in an Alpine environment with evergreens trees, mountain vistas, and a town-square village. This environment naturally reflects the scenery and heritage of the Bavarian Alps of Germany. At 6,750’ altitude, it marks the highest altitude Oktoberfest in California, and second highest in the U.S. The food served at Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest respects German traditions to the tee, including grilled bratwursts and knockwurst sausages, fresh-made colossal pretzels, home-style sauerkraut, German potato salad served warm, Bavarian-style potato dumplings, and apple strudel served with a warm vanilla sauce.  

Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest even serves the very same beer poured at Munich’s Oktoberfest! There are two full-service bars located inside the Convention Center and three different beer gardens outside, including the Tiki Bar, which provides a variety of micro brews and craft beer, ideal for beer connoisseurs.

The true spirit of Bavaria comes to life in Big Bear Lake for nine consecutive weekends, which starts September 10 and ends November 5, 2022. The weekend festivities take place at Big Bear Lake Convention Center, located at 42900 Big Bear Blvd. Event times are Saturdays 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sundays 12 noon to 6 p.m. and Fridays (October only) 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. This year’s event has limited capacity, and some dates are anticipated to sell out. Saturdays in October have set arrival entry time blocks to ensure everyone with a pre-purchased tickets get a speedy entrance into the event. Tickets are on a first come, first served basis, and guests are strongly encouraged to pre-purchase tickets online. Ticket options range from general admission, preferred seating options, Sunday Family-Fun Packages, and Über Bürgermeister Party Packs. Ticket prices for Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest vary per ticket type and per date. For complete details regarding tickets, pricing, and general information, log on to BigBearEvents.com, or call 909-585-3000.

For all there is to see and in Big Bear visit BigBearGuide.com
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Members of Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson’s Bipartisan Forum urge support of SB 1338

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Bipartisan Group of Riversiders Give CARE Court Stamp of Approval

How much longer can we humanely avert our eyes, ignoring the mentally incapacitated people languishing on our streets?  In a recent poll conducted by Suffolk University, 90% of respondents believed that the U.S. is facing a “full-blown mental health crisis”, and in a California Health Policy Survey, Californians’ identified their top priority policy as ‘ensuring people with severe mental health disorders can get treatment” (2020).   

Californians have an opportunity to address this seemingly bottomless crisis. The Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment Act (CARE), also known as Senate Bill 1338, empowers family members, first responders, and behavioral health providers with an avenue to petition a civil court on behalf of a loved one or community member that is incapable of caring for themselves. This potentially allows families and local communities the ability to initiate a CARE plan to provide behavioral health care, including medication, housing, and other services, to adults with psychotic disorders and people who lack medical decision-making capacity. A critically important part of the plan is the appointment of both a public defender and a personal advocate to help guide participants and ensure individual rights are protected.  

Californians across the political spectrum agree that it is time to make a bold commitment to transforming our broken mental health system to help our state’s most vulnerable residents and we have an opportunity to do so now. Arguably, California has not seen meaningful mental health reforms since 1972, partially because we continue to allow a quest for perfection to negate a commitment to incremental progress.

As diverse members of Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson’s Bipartisan Forum, we urge you to join us in supporting this legislation.  Please contact your state representative this week (https://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov) to urge a yes vote on SB 1338.

In October 2021, Riverside’s Mayor, Patricia Lock Dawson, convened a group of 14 community members with differing political ideologies to help drive solutions for the crises amongst those in homeless situations with serious mental health conditions. The group felt passionate that state-level mental health reforms were needed, including tools that would allow families to compel their family members with psychotic and addiction disorders into treatment.  The CARE Court legislation (SB 1338) is a step forward in this direction. 

Members of Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson’s Bipartisan Forum are: Dr. Cheryl-Marie Osborne Hansberger, Chani Beeman, Steve Johnson, Ana Miramontes, Rico Alderette, Tisa Rodriguez, Chuck Avila, Sheila Kay Riley, Ruben Ayala, Janice Rooths, Keith Sklarsky, Ana Lee, Dr. Regina Patton-Stell

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